Bahamas Could Set Up Similar Agricultural Schools

Photo: JIS Photographer Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott (left), makes a presentation of a basket of products from the Ebony Park Heart Academy in Clarendon, to the Bahamian Minister of Education, Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald; while Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke (right), looks on. The Ministers toured the Ebony Park Heart Academy and Agro Park on July 25, following a meeting at the school, to discuss the possibility of the Bahamas establishing agricultural schools in that country.

Story Highlights

  • A delegation from the Bahamas came to garner information on the nation’s agricultural schools
  • The Bahamas government is looking to cut down its staggering food import bill
  • The delegation visited the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE)

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, on July 25 met with a delegation from the Bahamas, that came here to garner information on the nation’s agricultural schools, with a view to establishing similar institutions in that country.

The Bahamian delegation, which was in the island from July 23-25, included the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government, Hon. V. Alfred Gray; Minister of Education, Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Cresswell Sturrup; Consultant within the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government, Dr. William J. Godfrey Eneas; and an Official within the Ministry of Education, Mr. Clarence Clare.

Mr. Clarke explained that the Bahamas government has been taking a very serious interest in the agricultural development of that country, with a view to cutting its staggering food import bill.

“Having looked at that, they have recognized that they do not have an agricultural institution in that country, and what they want to do is to establish some institutions that can provide training for their young people and entrepreneurs who want to get into the agricultural sector. They thought that the best place to come and look was Jamaica,” he explained.

The Minister, along with officials within his Ministry and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, met with the visiting delegation at the Ebony Park Heart Academy in Clarendon, one of two agricultural institutions that they visited.

The delegation also visited the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), one of Caribbean’s premier multi-disciplinary tertiary institutions located in Portland and according to Minister Clarke, “they were extremely impressed with what they saw.”

“They tell me that the experience they have gained, looking at the two institutions, has given them an idea as to what kind of institution they can put in place in the Bahamas,” Mr. Clarke said.

He pointed out that each of the Jamaican institution has its own outstanding features, noting that members of the delegation were excited about the value added opportunities that are being provided at Ebony Park.

The delegation was taken on a tour of the farm and the agro-processing facility at the institution, where they saw the students making products from in-season fruits and vegetables. The students produce pickles, jams, jellies and sauces among other things, which they sell to family, friends and the community.

“They are going back now with a determination to establish some institution of higher learning as far as agriculture is concerned in the Bahamas,” Mr. Clarke said.

The delegation also joined Minister Clarke as he toured sections of the Ebony Park Agro Park, before leaving for the airport.

“I have told them about the concepts of our Agro Parks and they would really like to see what the operations are on those agro parks. What they would like to do is to get a block of land as we have been doing with our Agro Parks. They might not have the kind of acreage that we have, but again they want to replicate what we have,” the Minister said.

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